The Bowie City Council had an unexpected 30-minute recess in its Monday-night work session when developer Richard T. Ziegler did not make an expected appearance to present Ziegler Corporation's plans to renovate the old Bel Air Shopping Center, on Rte. 450 at Stonybrook Drive and Superior Lane.

When Ziegler did not arrive, the council was left with a free hour on its agenda. Staff members rushed to call Ray Page, director of finance, and Randy Forrester, director of administrative services, to ask them to appear early to make their reports.

"There's no excuse for this," council member Dick Logue told a reporter during the recess. "He may need help from us later."

Ziegler's presentation was merely a courtesy to the council, requiring no official action. But, city officials indicated, Ziegler might need additional sewer hookups or septic approval, zoning changes, or special-use permits.

"We had talked about making a presentation, but it was never confirmed," Ziegler said. "Apparently there was a mixup."

However, a city official who asked not to be named said he personally saw Ziegler write the appointment in his date book.

In a telephone interview, Ziegler refused to discuss his plans for the shopping center, recently renamed The Market Place.

"In these short conversations over the phone, the facts get twisted and don't do us any good," Ziegler said. He refused to say how much money his corporation might spend on the project.

The same city official said Bowie was enthusiastic about "significant" improvement to the center, which might include a complete face-lift, new stores and additional buildings.